ESPN NFL draft analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay have each rolled out new mock drafts today on ESPN.com. And while Kiper's presents a scenario by which the Vikings could get one of the top quarterbacks available with the No. 8 overall pick (Central Florida's Blake Bortles), McShay's shows what the Vikings could do if the three QBs thought to be at the top of the class (Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater and Bortles) are all gone.
Kiper has the Vikings taking Bortles after two teams that need quarterbacks (the Jaguars and Raiders) draft South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins third and fifth overall, respectively. In McShay's version, Bridgewater, Bortles and Manziel go with the third, fourth and fifth picks, leaving the Vikings with Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers grab Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack with the No. 7 pick.
Either of those scenarios, I'd think, would be ones the Vikings would be willing to accept. Quarterback is such a glaring need for the franchise -- especially now that the Vikings would have to work to re-sign Matt Cassel as a temporary insurance policy -- that they'd welcome a chance to get a young passer with the physical tools of Bortles. But even if the Vikings have that chance, they saw three years ago what can happen when they reach for a quarterback and the decision doesn't pan out. General manager Rick Spielman can't afford to make that mistake again, and getting a dynamic linebacker like Mack or Mosley would also make sense. Mosley comes into the draft with injury concerns, but putting him at weakside linebacker would give the Vikings the kind of aggressive playmaker they've been missing for years.